Improving Quality and Reducing Burden through Health IT

Since 2010, both the public and private sector have made sizable investments in health information technology in pursuit of bipartisan policy goals aimed at achieving a more efficient, effective and safe healthcare system. HIMSS has accumulated case studies through the HIMSS Davies Awards program, reviewed the literature and discussed with members and experts, and as a result, identified that the return on investment in health IT can be positively measured by improved outcomes. The transition to electronic health records coupled with clinical decision support and improved analytic capabilities is driving accelerated quality improvement.

Improving Vital Healthcare Priorities: Without exception, organizations that use health IT to

  • identify and measure adherence of accepted clinical best practices,
  • measure outcomes, and then
  • monitor those outcomes for workflow analysis and change management,

improve key healthcare priorities. Those priorities include reducing hospital readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions, medication errors, and improving chronic disease management. Those who don’t leverage actionable quality data to review their processes generally struggle to see value from their investment in IT. 

HIMSS Davies Awards and Quality-enabled Healthcare: The Davies recipients exemplify progress toward the quality-enabled healthcare system envisioned by the Quality Workgroup of the American Health Information Community (AHIC).  As Dr. Carolyn Clancy, a co-chair for the group often said – in 2006 we believed health IT would enhance health IT and value. By 2008, we had a plan to make it happen.  By 2011 the nation coalesced around a National Quality Strategy.  In 2017, we should be proud of the results that we see through nationwide improvements exemplified by Davies recipients.  

Our collective work is not done; the bar is, and should be, rising.

  • Reduction of burden on providers still needs focus.
  • Industry leaders are committed to continued improvement on the healthcare delivery.
  • Financing systems and are increasingly concerned about the burdens of measurement.

The slow growth in cross-organization interoperability, relative exclusion of patient-reported data in enterprise IT systems, and maturation of analytic solutions increases the effort required to measure and improve care.

Health IT remains the fundamental building block that enables a high-performing, reliable healthcare organization. We have deep penetration of electronic health records that provide much richer clinical information than we were able to achieve through administrative systems.

We won’t reach the future by returning to the past, so we have to push forward to find more efficient ways to capture, store, share, and analyze clinical data, so that quality assessment can truly be a byproduct of care.

Let's take full advantage of any pauses and reflections on current health policy to revitalize our focus on the effective use of health IT to drive quality and safety.

Learn more about the regulatory direction for quality measurement and reporting and best practices for improving care on CMS priority conditions at the HIMSS Quality Symposium: Meeting Performance Thresholds in a Payment for Value World at HIMSS17 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando Fl.

Media Contact(s): 
Kristine Martin Anderson
HIMSS Quality and Patient Safety Committee


in health and IT meet.